Let’s start the week with this bit of political decency. ICYMI, South Carolina GOP Representative Tom Rice faces a primary challenge because he is one of the small number of Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump after January 6. And he’s not backing down. This is what he said in a debate last week:
"I was there on January 6, I wasn’t absent. I was there. I saw the bomb squads diffusing bombs. I smelled the tear gas. I was on the House floor when the glass was breaking when they were trying to break down the doors."
"When we evacuated I passed Capitol Police officers who were beaten and broken and being pulled from the lines. When we got to the spot where we were evacuated.
“I kept saying where’s the President? Where’s the President? Where’s the President? But he never came on.
"Later I asked my staff to pull the records of what he was doing at the time. And he was sitting in his dining room next to the Oval Office, proud that these people would be in sacking the U.S. Capitol, beating up the Capitol Police officers. And he did nothing to stop.
"In fact, 20 mins after they were in the Capitol, he tweeted out that Mike Pence doesn’t have courage. My friends, you can argue about whether this speech that morning was incitement or not. But, to me, that one tweet was incitement.
"If they would have gotten a hold of Mike Pence, we could have lost our democracy that day.
"The one difference between me and all those leaders back in Washington who said, oh, Donald Trump went too far, he should be impeached, he should be removed, and then voted the other way, I took the principled stand and I defended our Constitution."
General Mark Hertling on Putin’s Speech
What was NOT said, but observed:
-Troop & equipment parade seemed smaller
-No aircraft Z- pattern overflight ("bad weather;" skies were clear!); no "doomsday aircraft" (Putin's C2 bird)
-No GEN Gerasimov (rumored wounded at Izyum)
-Hammer & sickle flag behind Russian tricolor.
This is a unrefined analysis, but here's what I take from this:
1. Putin know he's losing: militarily, diplomatically, economically, informationally...it will get worse?
2. Putin can't spike the ball right now; he's looking for a way out?
3. RU domestic support teetering?
The Right Finds Its Narrative
Politico reports this morning that the Democrats are going on the offensive on the abortion issue. And Lord knows, GOP legislatures around the country are giving them more than enough ammunition.
You should bookmark this new Pew poll:
**TRIGGER WARNING FOR OUR MORE FRAGILE READERS**
Plenty of Democratic and pro-abortion rights efforts to fight back against Dobbs will be doomed, which will infuriate activists. And nothing creates content for conservative media, and the Republicans who increasingly speak through it, than furious protesters.
Since Monday, the liberal group Ruth Sent Us has published the public addresses of conservative Supreme Court justices, urging protesters to walk by them, and ShutDownDC has endorsed a walk-by “protest for reproductive freedom.” In Los Angeles, police clashed with protesters at an impromptu abortion rights rally.
None of this had the support of the Democratic Party, but all of it synced up with a message Republicans have made since 2017: that the left is sowing violence and chaos.
Over the weekend, this happened: “Anti-Abortion Group in Wisconsin Is Hit by Arson, Authorities Say.”
The headquarters of an anti-abortion group in Madison, Wis., was set on fire on Sunday morning in an act of vandalism that included the attempted use of a Molotov cocktail and graffiti that read “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either,” according to the police.
And we got a huge debate about this:
If MAGA world had done this to, say, RBG, there would (rightfully) be outrage and intense condemnation. I hope progressives speak out in a way far too many voices on the right didn’t during the Trump era.
And our colleague, Bill tweeted out some advice.
But the blowback to Bill’s prudent advice was intense, and for a while yesterday “Bill Kristol” was trending on Twitter.
The gravamen of much of the reaction was that outrage over the draft opinion justified over-the-top tactics. So, there were a lot (a lot) of reactions like this:
And, also, I regret to tell you, there were also folks like this.
Several points here:
Peaceful — and even passionate — protests are justified and protected under the First Amendment.
But threats and violence are wrong (and dangerous) per se.
They are also dumb, because:
They alienate rather than persuade.
The protests at the justice’s homes, or at churches, do nothing to advance the cause; and change no hearts and minds.
They give the Right (which has been struggling with its post-leak spin) a new narrative about mobs, and thuggery, and violence.
So we get this from National Review: “Biden’s Thug Government”; “The Shameful Pro-Abortion Protests Threaten the American Order,” and “Abortion Enthusiasts Block the Front Door of Lower Manhattan Church.”
This is the just mild stuff.
And, yes, the hypocrisy — it burns.
On Sunday, Ted Cruz, who has downplayed the enormity of the 1/6 attack on the Capitol accused Democrats of “embracing mob violence to get their partisan outcome" on the Supreme Court.
"I've got to say, this week, it was shameful that the White House refused to condemn violent protestors threatening the families of the Supreme Court," Cruz said. "It is disgraceful and Joe Biden used to be chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Joe Biden knows it's disgraceful! He's literally threatening the lives of these justices by the mob they're unleashing."
"It's the same thing we saw with Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots, where the left embraced them," he added. "And now they're embracing mob violence to get their partisan outcome."
Exit take: As dishonest, misleading and demagogic as this may be, the Right Media will weaponize this; and it will dominate coverage for weeks.
Update: Monday morning, WH spox tweeted:
I’ll weigh in later this week on the question of whether overturning Roe puts other rights — including gay marriage — at risk.
But it’s worth pointing out that the concerns are not frivolous:
1. Herschel Walker’s Winning Campaign in One Easy Trick
But our colleague Amanda Carpenter asks: What does he really stand for? And what do voters really know about him?
That isn’t to say Walker avoids policy entirely. You can find some, but you have to dig around and probably go to a MAGA rally to get it. His roughly six-minute speech at a Trump rally in Commerce, Georgia in March encapsulated Walker’s unique blending of the worlds.
The speech went like this: Walker encouraged the crowd to chant his name—“Let me hear Herschel! C’mon! Get it out!”—making it obvious that this is a man accustomed to adoring crowds. Then, after he praised Jesus and described himself as “sick and tired of people putting this country down,” Walker said it was time to “tell everyone this is the best country in the world” and “get ready to fight for it.” His fans chanted “Herschel, Herschel!” Then came the policy talk: As a “man of God,” Walker said he would “get men out of women’s sports,” better fund the military, and support law enforcement. Walker said he was also “sick and tired” of “CTR” being taught in schools (he meant “critical race theory,” which is CRT). “Can you tell me what that means?” Walker asked. “We’re Americans. We’re not black. We’re not white. We’re Americans. We’re all mutts, I hate to tell you that,” and tossed off an odd line about how “23andme screwed us all up.
2. What Democrats Could Learn from One Michigan Race
The planets had to align for the Dems to flip this seat in the Michigan House of Representatives—and align they did. The Republican candidate was a special blend of insanity and assholery named Robert “R.J.” Regan. He’s the dude who made national news when he proudly said on a streaming show, “Having three daughters, I tell my daughters, well, ‘If rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it.’” He also notoriously uttered anti-Semitic slurs online, praised Putin while dissing Ukraine, posted pictures of Dr. Anthony Fauci next to a noose, and lots of other garden-variety QAnon quackery.